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October 9, 2015

Ten ways I plan to cope with the WGA writers strike

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Nov 7th 2007 1:26PM
Strike rat on dutyI know I have a problem. I don't need anyone to tell me that I was a child of television and it's been in my life all my life. Yes, I read. Yes, I listen to music. And, obviously I write.

But most of my writing these days is about television!

I recall the last writers strike. It was during that time that I wrote a really horrible horror novel to occupy my time outside of my day job. I'm not doing that again this time. I refuse to spend weeks writing dreck just because the television and film writers are on strike.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not too keen on unions for many things, but the writers in the WGA for the most part don't earn much money -- as a matter of fact at any given time 48% of them are unemployed. These folks depend on the residuals to get them through lean times. I personally think they should get what they're demanding.

But this isn't about them. It's about me.

Yes, it's all about me, self-centered so-and-so that I am. I won't be totally lost because I do like many reality television shows and newsy shows. But I'm picky about my reality television and don't watch more of them than I do despite my reputation of being a reality show freak.

The most immediate impact on my life during the writers strike is no Late Show with David Letterman. Argh. I'm a true late night Letterman addict and have been for well over twenty years. Oh, I know I should be going to bed earlier anyway, so that's not so bad. I guess.

But what will I do to fill the hours outside of my day job? What escapes from real reality (or as Court TV to be truTV calls it -- actuality) do I have? I know the holidays are coming, so they will provide me some distraction, but not on a daily "I'm home from work, entertain me" basis. My knee is totally shot and New Jersey is extremely flat where I live, so throwing the skis atop the car for a night-skiing run isn't going to happen. That, along with the horror-ible novel, filled my evenings in the 1988 strike.

What to do? What to do? Feed me! I have to make plans! I can't go into a winter writers strike without some sort of plan for survival! So, I'm laying out ten ways I'll occupy my entertainment time right now just in case the worst case scenario goes down. Despite my reality television leanings, I will miss my Lost, my Heroes, my Law and Order (all franchises), my Big Bang Theory, my How I Met Your Mother, my many scripted addictions. If they go under and aren't on my television season, I refuse to be bereft.

Because I will have my Ten Step Plan for personal entertainment. So there.

1. I have just basic cable with no HBO, but have gotten hooked on The Wire anyway. I have the first three seasons on DVD and the fourth season (expected December 5) pre-ordered. Of course, I watched those three seasons in marathon sessions not long after I bought them. I'll watch them again, this time going for all of the commentary extras. I've already done that for season one, but I can do it for two more seasons and then the new one when it arrives!

2. I will clean the heads on my VCR and go through all of my unlabeled tapes of shows which were so important to tape back when I taped them that I never bothered to label them. Who knows what gems I might find? My collection of unlabeled tapes dates back to the late 80s. It's surely going to be as diverse as my 8-track tape music collection from the 70s. But, at least those are labeled.

3. On the dark and cold winter nights, I will wrap myself up in a warm throw on the recliner chair with a mug of hot chocolate and re-watch all of my movie collection which I own on videotape. I haven't watched many of them in a decade, yet have an extensive library of them, most of which I haven't updated to my DVD collection. Just thinking about it gives me a hankering to watch my videotape of Ursula LeGuin's PBS version of The Lathe of Heaven. Perhaps I'll even put them back on my shelves organized alphabetically or by genre instead of the current mishmash I have them in.

4. I will become a YouTube addict, watching the good, the bad, and the ugly ... then wondering about the hours in my life I will never get back.

5. I know you may laugh at me and think me to be out of tune with the present day, but I'll get my PlayStation (yes, the original one) and I will make it all the way through Crash Bandicoot. Then I might have to tackle Spyro and work my way up to my Die Hard game. The ghosts of defeat by video games for children will finally be in the past.

6. I will record at least two days of every judge show on the air, then write up a compare and contrast article judging the TV judges. After all, there has to be at least ten of those shows on the air these days, right? Maybe I'll even find one on the Spanish language channel and go with my limited command of the language to throw that judge into the fray, too.

7. I will tune into the Food Channel and actually pay strict attention, even trying a recipe or two after Jackie-izing them because I'm a fussy eater. While I watch the food segments of some shows and, of course I enjoy eating, I don't believe I've ever used a recipe from a cooking show. If I'm really lucky, I'll gain the power of Monica from Heroes and take it all in at a glance whipping up a dinner set for food critics to enjoy. You know, she made those tomato roses. I want to do that, too!

8. I will watch more shows on Animal Planet, yet weep every time a meerkat dies even if I've seen them die before.

9. I will develop a fake crush (always to be unrequited, of course) on a local TV meterologist from the NYC viewing market and create exotic fantasies in my mind appropriate to no family venue. My only stumbling block would be which weatherman. John Bolaris? Um, probably not. Al Roker? Hmmm. I don't think so. Sam Champion? His name is cool, but I can see him yelling "I'm the champion" during sweaty moves. Ew. Is Storm Field still around? He always had the best weatherman name! Yeah, a secret fake crush on a weatherman named Storm may have some possibilities, y'think?

10. I will watch the Jeep Liberty commercial with the singing squirrel, birds, and wolf on YouTube over and over again, reenacting it with my two cats until I'm committed to the nearest psychiatric facility. But, at least I'll be committed while singing "Rock Me Gently." After all, it's better than being an ax murderer or something equally evil.

But, most of all ... I would just like the writers of the WGA to get the pay they deserve. They need to support their families. They need their benefits. Although many out there don't think writing is hard work, it's not as easy as you might think. I once again mention my horror-ible novel. The median pay for members of the WGA is only $5,000 a year. That includes the many unemployed writers out there as well as those currently employed. If not for the writers, we wouldn't have the entertainment which enriches our lives so much.

I hope I won't have to use this list.

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You inspired me to create my own list.


As you can see I will be clinging to TV as long as possible before exploring new options.

November 10 2007 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have my PS3 for games and BDs.

November 08 2007 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Get your lazy asses off that couch and do some social activities.

Host a party, join a bowling league, make some new friends, expand your conciousness, LEARN!

this will also help u all lose weight, ya YOU.

for the past 6 months i have cut down tremendously my tv-viewing, choosing only a select few shows to watch on weekends (tivo'd).

I personally do NOT support the strike, it is stupid and will eventually hurt the writers more.
The writers with any talent wont be affected, they are made producers and earn a shitload, only the brain-dead script fillers who dont have any real talent are the ones screaming for more money.

they should just get on welfare, with all the other lazy talentless crack addicts.

November 07 2007 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll hit up the DVDs... I think Season 4 of L&O:SVU comes out in December... of course, there are always the reruns on USA! I will definitely miss HIMYM, too, though - best comedy on tv!

November 07 2007 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This has got me thinking. What can I do while my shows are on hiatus?

Top Ten, in no order....

1. Finally get to Photoshop editing the pictures that have been on my computer since this summer. (I really need to get the red eyes out of the pics of me at the Deathy Hallows release.)

2. Photoshopping, again. I want a desktop wallpaper for each of my favorite shows. (Heroes is already done.)

3. Re-read my collection of Lynn Flewelling books.

4. Play and finish a complete game of Monopoly. (Even though we only have the Star Wars version.)

5. Laundry.

6. Watch all the episodes of Bionic Woman, Journeyman, and Life that I have on my DVR and have never watched.

7. Marathon the TV DVDs I do have: Lost, X-Files, Arrested Development, MASH.

8. Go through my Special Edition Lord of the Rings DVDs I used to obsess over but haven't watched in a year.

9. Heroes theories!

10. Work on plots, timeline, and character development for the cult television show I someday hope to create. Lots of writing.

November 07 2007 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Like many of you, I plan on catching up on the MANY shows I just couldn't fit into my schedule via the magic of DVD.

Veronica Mars
even some old school Murder One

I do find it ironic though, that our saving grace in these tough times to come is the medium itself that some may argue sparked this very strike. It just goes to show that the justification behind this strike is legit and should be taken very seriously.

Thankfully, my guild will never strike. There's just too much work out there on both sides of the union for editors.

November 07 2007 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thik im going to give BSG a try.. have heard nothing but good about it, just never really got around to it...

November 07 2007 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My Netflix account is going to get a good workout. Especially because I pledged to not buy DVDs, buy downloads, or watch any content on official sites until the strike is resolved. I'm going to have a lot of free time.


November 07 2007 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chadwick hansford

5. Movies
4. Start watching seasons of "Rescue me".
3. Work out more
2. Music
1. Woman

Not in that order.

November 07 2007 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I predict a baby boom starting in about nine months.

I heard Hurricane Schwartz is newly available if you're into the bow-tie crowd.

When the going gets tough I'll probably work on burning through my Netflix queue. And maybe finally figure out how to get episodes of Top Gear.

November 07 2007 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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